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5 Pingpong Tips to Improve Your Game

Pingpong can seem like a difficult game as a beginner. It requires coordination, ball control, fast reflexes and a host of other skills that can seem hard to hone. Luckily, there are plenty of tips for how to get better at pingpong — and like any other sport, with enough practice, you will be able to improve your skills.

Whether you've never played pingpong before or you have a table in your basement where you play regularly, you can benefit from learning some new table tennis tips. Here are our tips on pingpong strategy for beginners and intermediate players:

1. Practice

If you're just starting out with pingpong, before you even start practicing, you might want to brush up on the rules of the game. If some of the vocabulary is confusing, you can check out our handy guide to table tennis terms to familiarize yourself with the sport.

Once you understand the game, the best way to improve for anyone — from an absolute beginner to a world champion — is to keep practicing. In general, your practice sessions should be used to focus on learning and developing new skills, while you can focus on winning during tournaments or other games.

When you begin playing table tennis or learn a new pingpong skill, you will have to carefully watch your specific moves, from how you hold the paddle to when you hit the ball to where you should be standing. With enough practice, the movements will become automatic. You'll then be able to focus on more important things, like keeping your eye on the ball and figuring out how and where you want to return it.

Practice is easiest when you have a partner who wants practice in similar areas as you — you can work through different skills together and help each other out. Not everyone knows someone interested in playing, so it can be difficult to figure out how to practice pingpong by yourself.

Practicing by yourself might not be as glamorous as practicing with a friend or a coach, but it can still improve your game. One of the best things you can practice is serving. You can also work on your footwork, which only requires you to have a table and space to move around. If you have a pingpong table that folds up, you can fold up one half of the table and play against yourself.

No matter how you practice, the important thing is that you are continuously working to improve your skills. The more you practice, the better you'll get.

2. Master Your Serves

A key skill is learning how to serve in pingpong. It might seem minor — it's only the first hit in what could be a long rally — but in actuality, it is the only hit where you have total control. The ability to serve is a big advantage, and mastering a serve is a great way to level up your game.

The rules of serving in pingpong are simple:

  1. Start with the ball in your open palm, visible to your opponent.

  2. Toss the ball at least 6 inches into the air.

  3. Hit the ball so it first bounces on your side of the table then crosses the net to hit your opponent's side.

Most beginners start with learning a forehand serve. Start by positioning yourself so the underside of the arm holding your paddle is facing your opponent. In this position, hit the ball with your paddle as it falls down from your toss.

If you've mastered the forehand serve, another great way to improve your game is to learn several different serves. Keeping your opponent guessing as to where your serve will go will keep them off guard and make it easier for you to score points.

Putting a spin on your serve is a common way to keep your opponent on his toes. Backspin, sidespin and topspin are all great tricks to add to your serves, especially if you can keep varying them. Changing up where your serve lands on your opponent's side will also make your serves more of a challenge to return. Learning how to put spin on a pingpong ball serve can be difficult, but after you practice enough to master it, you will see how valuable the skill can be.

3. Keep Moving

As you begin pingpong, you might find yourself standing in one spot as you play, leaning or reaching for the ball. This might work at first, especially against other beginner players, but if you want to truly improve your game, you need to incorporate movement.

Moving your body as you play will put you in the best position to return the ball. If a ball is heading to a corner and you don't move your body, you have to reach for the ball and hope you make a good hit. If you instead move yourself in front of the ball, you'll have a much wider range of options for your return hit. Making sure you're always moving will help you level up your game.

4. Utilize Spin

One of the most important pingpong techniques to learn is using spin. We already discussed using spin on a serve, but spin can potentially be utilized for every hit, giving you more hitting options and making it harder for your opponent to return. Practice angling the paddle less than 90 degrees and hitting the ball up, down, or sideways to cause different spins.

Spins are good for two reasons:

  • They keep your opponent guessing: Depending on how much sidespin you put on a ball, it could move mostly like a regular hit, or it could arc to a completely different side of the table. This gives your opponent less time to get behind the ball and decide how to return it.

  • Spins are more difficult to return well: If you put topspin onto a ball, the ball will go fast and low. If your opponent doesn't notice the topspin and hits the ball with a regular hit, the spin will cause the ball to bounce wildly upward. Putting spin on a hit forces your opponent to focus on counteracting the spin rather than implementing their own attack.

5. Use Low Returns

A smaller skill you can learn to improve your pingpong game is to focus on keeping your returns low. Beginner players will often just focus on getting the ball back over the net, which usually involves hits that go high and land in the center of your opponent's table. These are easy to return.

When your returns are low, your opponent has less room to maneuver around the ball, so it's harder for them to get into a good position or put a spin onto their hit.

To boost your skill, practice keeping your returns lower to the net. This could mean waiting slightly longer as the ball arcs downward before you hit it, or it could mean angling your paddle slightly lower toward the table.

Bring Pingpong to Your Home

Now that you're ready to level up your pingpong game, you need your own place to play. At HB Home, we sell table tennis conversion tops that make it easier than ever to bring pingpong into your home. With our conversion tops, you can transform your billiards table into a pingpong table in no time. To find the best option for your home, browse our table tennis conversion tops.

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